Rocky Marciano was born Rocco Francis Marchegiano, on September 1, 1923, in Brockton, Massachusetts. Marciano famously retired as an undefeated champion and held the heavyweight title for four years during the 1950s.
Rocky came from humble beginnings being born into a working class family. Father Pierino worked in a shoe factory and mother Pasqualena who kept a busy household running. Rocky had two brothers, Peter and Louis, and three sisters, Alice, Concetta and Elizabeth. His parents were immigrants from Italy and had moved to America for a better life for them and their children. The young Rocky always had a passion for sports but was a late comer to the sport of boxing being introduced to it in 1943 when he was in the army.
Marciano was a tough guy, theres no other way to put it. He had a granite chin and immense power however many doubted him early on due to his short stature, poor reach and lack of an amateur pedigree. However Rocky ended up with one of highest knockout percentages of all time - 87.75. He knocked out his first 16 opponents and quickly amassed a record of 37 wins and 32 knockouts before facing legendary former heavyweight champion Joe Louis. Marciano knocked him out in the eighth round, however it is reported that after beating his hero he cried in Louis’ dressing room after the fight.
Rocky Marciano Vs Jersey Joe Walcott
Marciano had his first title shot on September 23, 1952 when he fought against Jersey Joe Walcott who was the defending champion. They met in Philadelphia in what was a thrilling encounter. Being the younger fighter Rocky was up against a seasoned veteran in Jersey who at 38 had seen it all. The Boston native got dropped in the first and Walcott surged into a lead making it look like Rocky was out of his depth. However in what became his trademark style Marciano pulled out a victory from the clultches of defeat knocking out Walcott in the 13th with a sharp chopping overhand right sealing the deal and winning the belt.
Rocky Marciano Vs Ezzard Charles
Marciano fought Ezzard Charles twice - a seasoned pro who went by the name of 'The Cincinnati Cobra'. The first fight took place in 1954 and Rocky won by decision but the more spectacular fight was was the rematch in 1955. He almost lost his title due to a cut on his nose that he suffered in the sixth round, the cornerman couldn't stop bleeding and the ring doctor was watching closely. Marciano knew the score so he exploded in the eighth round and knocked Charles out to retain his title and remain undefeated.
Rocky Marciano Vs Archie Moore
Rocky Marciano's last fight was on 21st of September, 1955 and it took place in the Yankee Stadium. The unofficial attendance through closed-circuit television across the great cities of North America was over 400,000. Marciano was knocked down for a four-count in the second round but he came back in typical fashion and knocked out Archie Moore in the ninth round.
Marciano retired relatively early on in his career at the age of 31. He made TV appearances and managed to make a living working on various projects within the media being such a likeable and unique character. On August 31, 1969, the day before his 46th birthday, he died in a private-plane crash near Des Moines, Iowa. He was survived by his wife of 19 years, Barbara, and their two children, Rocco Kevin and Mary Anne.